Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is important for optimal health – but it’s also important to make sure that the food you eat is washed thoroughly and cooked properly. In Canada, there are an estimated 4 million cases of food-borne illness each year, resulting in hospitalizations, and in some cases even death.
Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family doctor in Vancouver, points out some of the foods that are most commonly affected, and what you can do to not only prevent foodborne illness or food poisoning from occurring, but how it can be treated if you do happen to get sick.
Foods like ground beef and chicken are more prone to carrying bacteria and making you sick. In order to prevent illness, beef should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit in order for it to be deemed safe enough to consume, while chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Eggs are another common source of food poisoning, and it is not recommended that you eat them raw. Leafy green vegetables and shellfish can also cause food poisoning due to being in potentially contaminated water or are handled poorly during processing procedures. Tomatoes should also be washed thoroughly in order to remove any bits of dirt or pesticides as these, too, can cause illness.
The symptoms of food poisoning can set in as little as a few hours after eating contaminated foods or as many as a few days later. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea and vomiting, but you may also develop diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, chills, aching muscles, and have a lack of energy.
As you can become severely dehydrated due to the vomiting that is so often associated with food poisoning, it is important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, such as water, or you can also find different rehydration beverages (such as Gatorade or Hydralyte) at your local grocery store or pharmacy. These types of beverages not only rehydrate you, but they also boost your body’s electrolytes.
If you are unable to keep down any foods, have severe vomiting, are pregnant, are over the age of 60, have any underlying conditions (i.e. heart disease, IBD, or kidney disease), are undergoing cancer treatment and have a weakened immune system, or your symptoms simply aren’t getting better, it’s important that you consult with your GP. If you do not have a family doctor, you can always visit Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby. There, Dr. Ali Ghahary is able to see patients on a walk-in basis. For clinic directions or to find Dr. Ali Ghahary’s walk-in schedule, click here.